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The idea for this blog has been in the back of my mind for a while, but the other day as I was about to cross-post a different blog on a blog directory, three titles of articles written by other folks caught my eye. Each of their blogs was mocking/sarcastic comments about horse trainers and their cliché attitudes towards clients. Sadly, there was a lot of truth in what was being written.
Pain in horses- an unaddressed common denominator
Let me preface this blog by saying I am NOT any of the following: veterinarian, equine nutritionist, equine dentist, farrier, equine chiropractor, equine naturopath or any other medical-related equine professional.
What I am is an equine professional who sees/handles hundreds of horses a year of varying ages and breeds, with differing degrees of training and exposure/experience in both competitive and pleasure disciplines.
For people who are new to my teaching and training theories, there are many questions and frequently a great deal of pondering and brooding as folks start to question “the way they’ve always done things” with their horses.
An introspective assessment, rather than seeking “answers” by imitating others, frequently leads people to an uncomfortable stage, of not so “pretty” revelations about themselves, behaviors and patterns in their interaction with their horses.
Unfortunately in our western society we are often praised for how much we can multi-task, seemingly “accomplishing” more tasks in a very limited time.
It may appear that individuals are achieving multiple tasks, but when it comes down to quality, clarity and intention when completing those responsibilities, they often are lacking those traits. The difficulty arises when we take a highly sensitive animal like the horse who will “feed” off of our energy, and we head out to the barn carrying chaos, distraction and tension.
Since we no longer rely on horses for survival, most people want to ride or be with their horse and use the experience as an emotional outlet. The problem is horses are highly emotional and sensitive creatures. They also are mirrors to those around them, and reflect what people “bring” to the experience. If folks are rushed, distracted, and stressed from “life” and unintentionally carry “baggage” from the daily demands of job, family, life, etc. to our equine partners, it makes for a less than desirable experience for both participants.
So the next time you are THINKING about riding, stop for a moment. Take 10 (I’m not kidding) deep breaths, mentally scanning your body for rigidity, distraction, or tightness. With each breath, feel that you can let go of “reality” for an hour or two while you head out to the barn.
It may sound a bit “touchy/feely” but horses are not machines sitting and waiting to “serve” their human’s purpose. The horse within seconds of your arrival has assessed where your brain and emotions are. If you aren’t present, neither will he be, leading to a less than quality experience. They can be fantastic partners, but only if offered fair and respectful communication. Why not spend quality time, rather than “dutiful” time with him?
And trust me, all those “urgent” problems will still be waiting for you when you’re done spending time with your horse. So, leave reality at the door, and literally give yourself permission to slow down and enjoy the ride!